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State Fair Elephant Ears Recipe

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This is classic recipe for State Fair Elephant Ears yields, sweet, crispy pieces of pastry coated in a delicious cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat everyone will love. Elephant Ears are actually pretty easy to make at home with just 4 simple ingredients!

Side view of Elephant Ears on a round wood board

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What is the first thing you gravitate to at your local fair? Is it rides, exhibits… or food? And if it’s food–I can guess Elephant Ears would be right up there.

In fact… Time Magazine ranks Elephant Ears, you know– those fried flattened pieces of dough coated in butter and liberally sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar — in the top 10 most popular state fair foods.

It’s no secret that we love fried food, but when you combine cinnamon and sugar, it’s almost impossible to resist.

Clocking in at anywhere from 300-500 calories, we find the goodie a state fair staple. Who can resist something fried? But don’t worry – these are Baked Elephant Ears, in the style of a French palmier, so you can enjoy this treat at home rather than just as a once a year treat.

In my neck of the woods, we call this irregular-shaped fried sweetness, Elephant Ears. Although, you may know them as something else. Time says, ‘“Depending on your location, it could also be called a ‘beaver’s tail’ or simply ‘fried dough.And while it’s big enough for more than one person, we advise you not to share.”

Origins of Elephant Ears

Do you like Indian fry bread? I’ll never forget my first taste at a small road-side restaurant on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation years and years ago. Oh my. It was amazing.

I wasn’t surprised, then, to learn of its connection to Elephant Ears.

Gold Medal Snacks says Elephant Ears are “Inspired by the fry bread of Native Americans, elephant ears get their name from their big, “ear”-like shape. Fry bread was invented by the Navajo tribe of the southwestern United States in 1864 using the flour, sugar, lard, and salt given to them by the U.S. government. The end-result is a cake that is flatter and smoother compared to funnel cakes’ fluffy, lumpy texture.”

Closeup view of Elephant Ears on a Round Wood Board

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Side view of Elephant Ears on a round wood board

Elephant Ears

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes

A simple summer treat, these simple Elephant Ears are oven baked, with store-bought ingredients.


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 package puff pastry, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon.
  3. On a work surface, sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar. Place a sheet of puff pastry over the cinnamon sugar and roll out to about 10 x 12-inches. Brush with melted butter.
  4. Roll up one long side toward the middle. Then roll up the opposite side until both rolls meet in the middle. Press the two sides together gently.
  5. Repeat with the second puff pastry sheet.
  6. Chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Once chilled, cut the chilled dough into 1/2-inch slices. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon sugar onto both sides of the slice and lay it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Give them plenty of room as they will increase in size!
  8. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Cool on a cooling rack.


These are best eaten the day they are made but they will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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    1. Brush the melted butter onto the puff pastry before rolling. I’ve updated the instructions!

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